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A poster for Ben Affleck’s 2003 turn as the superhero Daredevil captures some of the brooding quality’s of recent takes on the Batman character – whom Affleck will play in 2015.

A poster for Ben Affleck’s 2003 turn as Daredevil captures some of the brooding of recent takes on Batman – whom Affleck will play in 2015.

Ben Affleck, who turned down directing a proposed “Justice League” movie and has talked down his role in “Daredevil” in 2003, has taken up the role as the next Batman.

A statement from the movie studio Warner Bros., cited in Variety, says Affleck will be Batman in a movie opening July 17, 2015, with Henry Cavill returning as Superman after this year’s “Man of Steel.”

Also returning: Zack Snyder, director of “Man of Steel,” and Cavill’s co-stars Amy Adams and Diane Lane.

“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some,” Warner Bros. President Greg Silverman said in a press release.

The Batman-Superman film was revealed last month, but without Affleck’s attachment. It’s a surprise also because Affleck was apparently asked last winter to play Batman in a “Justice League” movie he would direct and turned both down.

“Daredevil,” in which Affleck starred with Jennifer Garner, who became his wife, was poorly received. Along with “Gigli” and “Paycheck” it won Affleck a Golden Raspberry Award for worst actor in 2004.

“I think we missed a lot in that movie,” Affleck has said, calling it a superhero film done “before they really figured out how to do them right.”

Older and wiser

But just as Affleck’s star has risen with his directing and acting in such films as “Gone Baby Gone,” (2007) “The Town” (2010) and last year’s Oscar-winning “Argo,” the success of Marvel’s X-Men franchise and interconnected Avengers films has moved superhero flicks into the stratosphere in terms of funding and talent. “Man of Steel,” which got lukewarm reviews, had an estimated budget of $225 million and has taken in more than $650 million worldwide – more than enough to demand a sequel, especially with DC and its filmmaking partners eager to take some of Marvel’s box office action.

Snyder is co-writing the Batman-Superman movie with David S. Goyer, who will write he screenplay, Variety said. Production is expected to begin next year. Snyder hinted last month that the plot will have some relation to Frank Miller’s 1986 graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns,” in which Batman battles Superman – but it’s unlikely the connection will be very close; in the novel, the characters are aged and living in the future, and Batman uses guns to match the hyper violence of a nearly lawless, dystopian world.

In looking forward to Superman and Batman meeting, undoubtedly fighting and inevitably teaming up, Snyder said in a press release:

Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne I can’t wait to work with him.

Update on Aug. 25, 2013: “Sources say that Affleck has been signed for multiple movies, should sequels continue to proliferate,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.